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What Are Parents’ Reasons for Teaching Kids Music?

In this article we will cover that invisible motivational power that forces some parents to enrol their children in music education.

I suggest that, before you do this, you define exactly what you want by teaching kids music. If you’re happy with the idea, they will likely go along well with it, too. Your moods and thoughts imperceptibly creep into the consciousness of your kids every hour and minute of the day. Our little family members consider us, their parents, to be the authority in everything. And some of us manage to maintain that authority through the teen years and even until the end of their lives.

I re-read several old records I had kept from previous years. Many of them detailed conversations I had with parents who, knowing the importance of teaching kids music, had brought their kids to music school for the first time.

The first meeting among parent, child and teacher is very significant. Everyone gets to know each other and things usually go very well in these introductory stages. But according to available statistics, only 1 percent (!) of parents is convinced at the very beginning that by teaching kids music, the kids will become at least very good musicians. The other 99 percent bring their kids with this thought: “Let’s do this and then see what comes of it.”

At one of the large conferences for music teachers organized by the Ministry of Culture of Russia in the Far East, I heard a phrase from one of the speakers that particularly drew my attention. He said: “It is a pity that those who are not as dedicated to teaching kids music do not hold conferences like these. Imagine how many mistakes could have been avoided during lessons?”

Whatever a person does for a living, in order for him to make a difference, he must have a passion and true zest for what he does. The child is not an exception. Parents know perfectly well that if their child is interested in something, he persistently asks for it. And no one will deny that a child’s true interest in music is a must during lessons and practice homework. So, it’s integral that parents are highly cognizant of their children’s thoughts.

You may be thinking, “Is it really necessary for my kid to study with constant interest; that is, with pleasure, all the time?” That’s a good question, because sometimes it is necessary to forget your “wants” and tune in to your child’s natural attraction to (or away from) music.

And certainly, every one of us must struggle and strain and make ourselves do something – even those things that we are passionate about. But this only occurs occasionally. If you insist on teaching kids music by force time and time again, they will slip into depression and possibly lose interest in everything, in addition to the dread of practicing homework, etc.

It is impossible to compare the mentality of an adult with that of a child and use yourself as an example, saying something like, “I too do not want to go for work; however, I do.” In comparison to children, our life experience is much larger and our attitude to specific events is far more stable. In other words, we must work in order to make a living; to stay alive! Kids do not have to play music to stay alive. So, these are two very different life experiences, and it amazes me that parents sometimes just don’t see it that way and insist on teaching kids music.

So if you think it’s time to focus on teaching kids music by force, by all means do it, but do not make a habit out of it – and if your kids are happy with every second lesson, it would be great to make sure that they constantly study with interest. How can you do this? Hopefully, by finding a very good teacher who, in due time will suggest different ways of teaching kids music on a distinctly individual basis. It is only through cooperation with the teacher you can constantly promote and support your children’s interest in music. If the options the teacher offers do not work, then make the necessary conclusions and modifications.

Where do parents get the information on how other kids are doing at music lessons or prepare for them at home? Is it possible to read about it in books? Can you get the information in libraries?

Certainly, those are good resources, but you don’t have to go that far, necessarily. Parents can hear about this from their children’s teacher. A good teacher of music will openly and happily tell you about the experiences of teaching kids music. But the main “news source” for parents is deceptively simple: other parents! The parental exchange of information is invaluable in that they can share stories that happened to their kids, and vice versa. This makes it easier for Mom and Dad to compare the achievements of their own children to others. This is where they learn about difficulties in teaching kids music, such as when children immediately or gradually lose the interest and desire to study.

Unfortunately for parents, however, this exchange of information and/or the recognition that their child might be losing interest occurs too late, and no one can clearly explain to them the real reasons the child’s interest vanished. And without finding a “quick fix” or a solution to this problem, again, your chances of re-enrolling your child are slim, because he isn’t going to be interested in it! Also, by this time, the next group of parents step into the same “puddle,” and as a result, your child will never complete music education.

“What can I do, then?” you ask. I suggest that you learn and try to understand what not to do.  

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